First Contact

Good morning, everyone.  I wanted to share with you my welcome back message to the MTL faculty.  Here goes:  Although I’m still putting the finishing touches on syllabi, I gave my students access to my Bb sites and sent them a brief note of welcome.  It still amazes me how anxious students get about the courses–concerned about whether they’ll be able to do well, to manage the challenges, to stay organized.  Almost immediately I got emails back with questions about individual assignments, the sorts of prompts I’d give on the Discussion Board, and course content matters.  I replied that I would be back in touch with them with specific instructions about all elements in the course and that I would maintain contact, in fact more contact than they would’ve received in a FTF course.  Basically, I tell them to chill.  One then wrote back “Namaste,” which cracked me up.
Forgive the story, but it’s these little exchanges that are part of what makes this whole deal worthwhile–the human contact, the sense that we have something of enduring value to offer and (I hope) the skill to make a difference in these peoples’ lives.  In some measure, I dread the start of the school year because I’ve cluttered our little holiday with memories of meetings and administrative arguments and a hundred little problems to solve.  And then I remember what, to me, is the spiritual aspect of our work, and I’m once again thankful to be in this privileged position.  Have a wonderful year!

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